My working life ... After-school manager

Published: 03 Jul 2015

Sarah Hammond is after-school club manager with Acorn Childcare, based at Meadowside Primary School in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire. She helped set the club up nine years ago and helps manage another after-school club in Corby. Sarah is also a higher level teaching assistant and pastoral assistant at Meadowside Primary School.


She says, 'We usually have about 20 children and about three staff. My day starts at 7.30am and we open the doors to parents and children at 7.45am. The children come in and help themselves to breakfast.


'When we are ready to go, we sit on the carpet and have discussions or games. At 8.45am we all go to school. If there are any issues when I drop the children to their classes, the teachers and I will speak then.


'When the children come out at 3.15pm we meet them in the playground. Once they have all been ticked off the register we go to our building, which is joined to the school. We don't go straight in; we have a big focus on playing outdoors and we have bought equipment for the school grounds.


'Inside, we have three large wardrobes full of games and toys. We have two rooms - a quiet room with craft resources and computers, and a busy room where they can make their own dens and play.


'If they wanted to they could get their homework out but we don't encourage it. That sounds awful but I don't want people to think "I can send my child to after-school club because they will ensure she does her homework".


'Parents come any time from four o'clock onwards and usually we feed back, telling them what they've been up to. The last child leaves right on six.


'The best bit? I've learned how to manage behaviour really well and I have a great rapport with staff and children. When I see people enjoying play that makes me happy.


'The hardest part of my job is making sure parents understand what play work is. It's not nursery and it's not school. It is important that they understand that the children are here to enjoy themselves. That they will do the kind of things mum and dad did when they were children.'






Planning the day and sorting out snacks and shopping Greeting parents and children at the door Preparing breakfast, packing away, and ironing out issues as they arise in the club Helping children with worries and problems in school Looking at school issues that can be directed my way Answering the telephone and booking children's sessions Talking to the children Assisting with the managing of a second after-school club in Corby Qualifications and training


Playwork L2, 2004 CPD: Designated Person - Child Protection/Safeguarding in the Setting, 2006 (updated every three years) NVQ 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development, 2008 OU L4 Childcare and Development, 2011 Employment history


1981-2005 - various positions, mostly in shops, with some supervisory duties 2005 to present - after-school manager, Acorn Childcare, Northamptonshire 2013 to present - pastoral support advisor, Meadowside Primary School, Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire QUALIFICATIONS AND TRAINING


In order to manage an out-of-school club, a Level 3 qualification in childcare or playwork is required. If the club is registered on the Early Years Register, the manager should have at least two years' relevant experience and a 'full and relevant' Level 3 qualification in childcare or playwork.f the club is only registered on the compulsory Childcare Register (ie, you are caring for children from 1 September following their fifth birthday) a Level 3 qualification from a relevant area is required, although there is no list of specific qualifications. First aid and food safety qualifications would also be an advantage.


Most after-school club managers will have previously worked as a play worker in a similar setting. Managerial or supervisory experience is not essential but it is important that the person in the role is happy supervising other staff.


Duties include spending time organising and supervising play, meeting and greeting parents and children, socialising with children, organising and serving food when required and tidying up at the end of the session. The manager is also responsible for ensuring that the setting meets Ofsted requirements.


More information on play work qualifications can be found on the CACHE, City and Guilds, SkillsActive and Edexcel websites.




CACHE, City and Guilds, Courses-and-Qualifications/children/playwork/4964-playwork Edexcel, NVQ-competence-based-qcf/playwork/Pages/level3-dip.aspx SkillsActive endorsed training provision for playwork,

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